Whirlwind Trip to the Mountains of Lesotho

Whilst in South Africa over Christmas, I took the opportunity to head to the mountains of Lesotho (despite it being the wrong time of year for rosehips) to discover where our rosehips for our Organic Rosehip Seed Oil skincare products are grown and harvested.

After much discussion over the route we should take into Lesotho, we settled on taking the Land Rover over Sani Pass. Sani Pass traverses the Great Escarpment of South Africa and takes you from the Drakensberg into "Kingdom in the Sky", Lesotho. With a summit altitude of 2876m, it is one of the most iconic and treacherous gravel passes with the most breath-taking and spectacularly dramatic scenery ever.

Looking back I completely underestimated the adventure and driving experience this was going be. I've been lucky to have travelled a lot but this is certainly a road trip I won't forget!

A trusty 4x4 was certainly advised and I would say needed!

Having packed up the Land Rover with supplies, car spare parts and shovels?! I asked why? Just in case we have to dig the car out if we get stuck was the reply. What sort of road trip was this going to be? I know the roads in Africa have pot holes but surely not ones where we have to dig ourselves out of!

We wound our way through KZN to the check point/border control at Sani Pass where the tarmac road ends and the gravel track begins. We were in no mans land as we slowly ascended the rocky hair-pinned track up to the top. There were hairy moments when we were rolling back trying to drive over rocks or skidding over shingle but the fine piece of British engineering got us up and over the pass into Lesotho.

I'm not sure why but I always underestimate how chilly and windy being at the top of mountains is. Border control at Lesotho was no different, out came the jumpers and jackets having left behind the 30 degrees in Underberg.

As we set off on the only tarmac road in Lesotho, the landscape was simply mountains. As we descended, ascended, twisted and turned through the Maluti Mountains on the Moteng Pass, we passed Basotho's wearing the traditional woollen blankets and Mokorotio (hats) on their beloved ponies and donkeys travelling with their goods or herding goats and sheep. The rural villages are made up of their traditional Rondavels, with plots of land still being ploughed by oxen, it was really like stepping back in time. 

After 8 hours of driving we arrived at Oxbow Lodge, a lovely place, 8 km from the summit of 2,800m of the Moteng Pass in a picturesque valley on the banks of the Mailbamatsoe River, to stay the night. 

In the morning we headed out towards the capital of Lesotho, Maseru driving through the lowlands to the Caledon border point and out back home through the Drakensburg. 

It really was a whirlwind tour but it gave me a valuable insight into Lesotho, the Basotho culture and rural way of life. Hopefully I will get back there next time in time for the harvesting of the rosehips so I can fully appreciate the process of how Lesotho Rose's Organic Rosehip Seed Oil comes into being.

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